Tuesday, June 03, 2014

DIGITISATION: Kevin Smith, podcast auteur?!

Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks; they've inspired a shoe range!
I'm not sure what traction the name has with today's teens, but for (some of!) my generation, Kevin Smith, a remarkably foul-mouthed film-maker who put together a classic/cult debut film for peanuts (Clerks, $28k!) whilst working full-time in a dead-end job, has made a remarkable claim about his status:
Filmmaking is the only art form where you say, "I wanna express myself. Give me $10m and Ben Affleck." ... But all along what I could do was talk. If podcasts were movies, I'd be up there with Spielberg, dude.
Read a Biskind interview here.
If it was now, I would have seen Slacker and written a blog about it or recorded a podcast. That would have been enough. The entire message of my career is that if you want to do it, you should try. I am a chimp and I built a career out of making films. And I don't even consider myself a film-maker! Oh yeah, and PS: neither do the critics.
For a film-maker who created the iconic/cult characters Jay and Silent Bob, and who has two decades of film-making behind him, that's quite a statement.
In a real sign of the times, he's currently in the UK touring a combination of a 60-min animation and a podcast recording!

Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures, which tracks the rise and fall of the Indies from the 80s to the mid-noughties (including glimpses of WT), frequently features Smith, whose up and down relationship with Miramax and its fierce co-head Harvey Weinstein tells you a lot about how the industry works (or malfunctions!) ... and is a sequel to arguably the best book ever written about cinema, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

The current (June/July 2014) tour is an indication that film may be undergoing a similar shift to the music industry, in which CDs are increasingly a secondary revenue stream compared to tours and merchandise. As is becoming a widespread music concert practice, there is a VIP option for keen fans:

The mini-tour even has an official sponsor! Screenshot from seesmod.com.

I've blogged on similar events on the MusiVidz blog (on the music industry/videos), but can also make a link to the book industry where, once again, there is a decline in sales of physical texts and publishers are looking to author tours as one means of replacing the lost revenue:
the rise of Amazon and the Kindle is transforming the nation's publishing institutions, which are being forced to seek new sources of revenue. As bookshops close, authors are embarking on rock star-style tours; the newly formed mega-publisher Penguin Random House sold 10,000 tickets for a reading tour by Caitlin Moran. The publisher is also turning one of its most famous characters, Peter Rabbit, into a cartoon and is seeking tie-ins with toymakers and chocolatiers.
Some publishers are looking at diversifying into new forms of content, for example by combining books, films and games into a new narrative genre. A new iPad thriller called The Craftsman, launched last year, turns the reader into the main character in a gothic, cinematic chiller.
(from this article on eBooks set to overtake print books by 2018)
You can read the full article below, or click here.